So I've come to quite a crossroads in my ministry life, and its a sad one with a tough decision ahead of me. I wanted to come here for some outside input, since I'm still undecided how to proceed. Just a warning, this will be lengthy.
I've been the Worship Leader and Music Director for a Local Brooklyn Church for about 3 years, a member for 7. We've had our ups and downs, as usual in any music ministry, but those who were called to remain, remained. We were never a large group, never more than 10 ppl at one time.
Cut to the beginning of this year and the pianist+drummer and her family decide to leave due to a constant power struggle and inability to submit to authority. So it just me (guitarist) and the choir of 7 people left, when the Pastor's son and his kids show up to save the day and join us. I'm ecstatic since the Pastor's son, we'll call him Robert, used to have a recording studio and was very skilled with many instruments.
Things start off great, but a divorce in Robert's marriage causes him to start to miss services and cancel last minute frequently, which I completely understand. While it was frustrating for me at times, I completely understood the difficulty of going through a divorce, having had my parents split 5-6 years ago. Throughout this whole ordeal I am in constant communication with him assuring him to not feel bad, that I understood, and to encourage him.
I've always wanted to improve the quality of the worship service, by bettering the quality of music and giving skillful worship to the Lord. I thought with Robert it would be achievable, but it was obvious this was not going to work out in the long-term.
I acquire Reason 5 and my mind is blown with the possibilities that are open to us now. I start to make backing tracks to accompany the group and my lonely guitar for the worship services and it working great. In the beginning of last month the elders in the ministry decide to make a concert/banquet to raise funds at the end of the month and ask us to prepare. Riding solo for about a month, I reach out to Robert and ask if he would like to work with us, which he says yes. But the whole month goes by and he does not respond to my messages, so I decide to prepare as I always did, as if i were the only instrumentalist, and make backing tracks covering the drums and and piano. In the middle of the week leading up to the concert he contacts me and apologizes for being dark and would like to help in the concert. So i send him the backing tracks and music sheets and ask them to practice.
The concert is here, and we've all been practicing the 11 song set that was selected. We begin to practice, but they are all over the place. They don't know the rhythms, the changes in the songs, its a train wreck. And the choir is complaining that cant follow the music, and we're only up to song 3 of 11 with 30 minutes left. So I make the decision to ask them to sit down and use the backing tracks. I ask the group to take a 5 minute break and ask Robert and his sons to side, and said I apologize but this just isn't working out, we have 30 minutes left and we're not even getting close to covering the songs in time. They understand and sit down with no problem. We continue to have a successful practice and a great concert. But Robert and the kids have disappeared, and the Pastor is wondering what happened that they didn't play. I go on to explain, and he begins to sound upset at hearing what I did (which was made worse by the fact that he did not come home that night).
He tells me, the Pastor, that the weekend before Robert had quit the ministry completely, that he had given up on everything including his kids and family since he was so distraught (still understandably affected by the divorce). I am completely in the dark about all of this, because although I was constantly sending messages, he never opened up to me, and no one ever told me about how fragile he actually was. The day after (on Sunday), before the service the Pastor calls the group up and says that hes decided to sit the whole group down indefinitely because of my decision the day before. He does explain hes upset and that hes not himself and out of it at the moment, but that he doesn't want anyone to be up there right now.
I understand where the Pastor is coming from, but from our conversations it obvious he sees me guilty for adding the "last straw that broke the camels back". In hindsight had I known about how fragile Robert was, I probably would've made a different decision. But knowing what I did at the time, I don't accept any guilt for my decision. I believe I made the best decision for the group, and with 30 minutes left before the concert, we didn't have many alternatives.
I've made a decision that once things have died down a bit, and to not pile it on the Pastor right after possibly loosing his son and grand kids, to step down as Music Director and Worship Leader. My wife does not agree with my decision, reminding me that the Lord's calling is irrevocable. I feel a passion for the Music Ministry, but with this situation and the possibility of this happening again, I don't believe its working out. Robert has always had a rep of being very flaky, its to say he would promise alot, then not show up or come through. He's always been like this. Another reason, I'll admit this one to be a bit selfish, was that I work a night job so that I can watch after my 2 children during the day, which automatically deprives me of sleep to start. But I worked at least 4 hours a day that month on those backing tracks to make the concert something the Lord could be proud of in our effort. I worked so hard and this is what I'm re-payed with. I am hurt personally, but I feel like my time as the leader here has come to an end.
TL;DR (FYI - TL;DR means Too long; didn't read):
Music Director for 3 years, solo instrumentalist since 2012, pastors son comes and joins, but due to personal problems is unable to be constant. I chose backing track over pastors son for concert since they did not practice. Group is sit down indefinitely and Pastors see me guilty for their sons decision to leave the ministry. I've decided to step down a leader.
Sorry for the long post I tried to format it so it was easy on the eyes. Basically I want know what you guys/gals think about my decision to leave. Am I running way, or making the best choice for the situation at hand? Thanks for your feedback.
Sad and Confused,